One of the biggest beer companies in the world have been criticised after free beer cans of Bud Light were given to homeless people on the streets of Liverpool as part of a promotion campaign.

A Bud Light 4x4 was seen in the Whitechapel area of the city where cans of lager were handed out to rough sleepers before the council moved on the vehicle.

One homeless man was spotted asleep next to a blue can of the 3.5 per cent alcohol Bud Light which has fewer calories than a regular Bud.

Another homeless man told the Liverpool Echo he was able to get a "trolley full" of the smaller cans of lager.

He told the paper: "I think it was sound. I think its OK giving those out, it doesn't do any harm does it."

However, City Centre councillor Nick Small said he was "outraged" by the incident and that it has "no place whatsoever in Liverpool or anywhere else".

Small added: "They have done this without permission from the council's licensing team or city centre team.

"I've had reports from members of the public that they've seen street drinkers and other vulnerable residents being handed free cans of beer by Bud Light. I'm outraged that this is happening when Liverpool schools are on half term too.

"I'd like to thank the city council's licensing and city centre teams for acting so quickly and getting the van moved.

"I'm demanding that enforcement action is taken against the company for what appears to be a flagrant breach of alcohol promotion guideline and licensing laws."

In a statement, Anheuser-Busch, which owns Bud Light, said: "As a company and founding member of the Portman Group, we are committed to not only promoting responsible drinking, but also to showing good moral conduct across everything we do. We take these duties very seriously and apologise on this occasion for any offence the sampling of our products may have caused.

"For our UK Bud Light sampling tour we have strong processes in place to make sure only those of legal drinking age and who are not under the influence receive a single 150ml sample can of Bud Light. With these measures we also aim to be inclusive whilst ensuring our products do not fall into the hands of vulnerable people. All of our teams conducted ID checks as part of the Challenge 25 scheme and stamped individuals' hands after they received a free sample to ensure just one was given per person.

"We are investigating how this incident, which we believe to be isolated, came to pass but until then we are putting a hold on any further public sampling activity."

This article has been amended to include an updated statement and correct the ABV of the lager.